Language barriers in action

※ This happened on Thursday, 8th of December 2016.

After Aikido practice, I have two choices:

  1. After 2 hours of offical practice, I leave and excuse myself for leaving so early.

  2. I stay with them. After the official practice, we can ask our senpai to show us certain exercises. Eventually the sensei/senpai asks everybody to finish and clean up. Afterwards we return all the equipment to the club’s room. We visit the Konbini before going to the train station together. In total, this takes 4 hours.

I choose either option half of the times. At the Konbini, we are offered a free snack. If your item costs less than 130 Yen, the senpai will pay for it. This has been explained to me the very first time I followed them to the Konbini. However, an Aikido friend wanted to point it out again (probably he didn’t knew, I know, or he wanted to do it explicitly after I bought some 140 Yen item on my own). Because he could not express this offer in English words, he wrote it in Japanese and started Google Translate (hopefully I remember all words right):

If you stay late with the sensei, the night can be delicious.

— Google Translate Japanese to English translation

I laughed pretty hard and I don’t think they understood why. As far as I am concerned I think the statement refers to something different than what they actually wanted to say. On the other hand, I also don’t know what they originally typed in. Anyways, this is a wonderful example of how words can be interpreted differently and language does not end where syntax and semantics end. You also need to study the associated culture.